Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are You Watching Out for Your Kids?

I hate to break it you, but there are so many toxins in our environment nowadays that our kids are exposed to chemicals and endocrine disruptors on a daily basis. I know — scary, right? Luckily, they have YOU to help do something about it. Now, you can't change everything, but as parents, you do have a great deal of power over what your kids put in their mouths and on their skin. You probably know you need to feed them the best quality food you can afford, but what about the quality of the clothes, toys, and diapers you buy for them? Here are four important steps that you can take to help clean up their environment.

Clothing and bedding: Make sure your kids' pajamas, bedding, pillows, and mattresses do not contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a class of flame-retardant chemicals. They pose potential health risks to children — they've been linked to thyroid disruption, learning and memory problems, hearing damage, decreased sperm counts in later years, and birth defects. Choose organic bedding and clothing that's free of these chemicals, and your body, your kids' bodies, and the planet will be much happier.

Toys: The phthalates DEHP and DINP are added to plastics to make them flexible. But they pose a health risk to you and your children because they are endocrine disruptors. Many manufacturers and stores have pledged to remove phthalates from their toys, but if the recalls on toys from China tell us anything, it's that we can't be 100 percent sure about the products we buy. Instead, choose unpainted wood and organic fabric toys.

Bottles and diapers: Don't put endocrine disruptors directly into babies' mouths or on their bottoms. Instead, use glass bottles and unbleached diapers, such as Seventh Generation chlorine-free diapers or gDiapers.

Lice shampoo: You don't want to pour toxic pesticides on children's heads. Adopt a "no nits" policy and do regular screenings: Use a lice comb and get the nits out before they develop into lice. If your children do get lice, find a gentle anti-lice shampoo with natural ingredients, and prevent recurrences by sprinkling a few drops of tea tree essential oil on their heads every day.

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